SCOTUS reinstates death penalty for Tsarnaev

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The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month reimposed the death sentence of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who set off one of the bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon. The ruling reverses a 2020 federal appeals court decision nullifying the sentence and ordering a new penalty phase trial.

The justices’ 6-3 ruling was in response to a Biden administration request to reinstate Tsarnaev’s original sentence, calling Tsarnaev a “terrorist” who caused “carnage at the finish line.”

Tsarnaev was convicted in 2015 of setting off one of two bombs at the race, killing three and injuring hundreds of others. His brother, Tamerlan, who was killed by police days later, was believed to have set off the other bomb. 

The administration’s efforts to have the death penalty reimposed surprised many since President Biden has publicly stated his opposition to capital punishment, and the Justice Department has imposed a moratorium on federal executions.

Still, the decision simply means years of appeals, and untold millions of dollars before Tsarnaev, who is already in a federal maximum security prison, is ever executed by the federal government.

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